The Morning Wakeup
Leanna and Josh 6:00-10:00am

Word For You Today

SEEN (3)

Jeremiah's encounter with God shows us how God reassures fearful minds. Many new Christians first feel His presence as a great big wash of well-being.

New research has shown that neglect by parent-figures can damage kids' brain development, but love, when it is consistently felt, clears out those dark, damaged spaces. (1 John 4:18 says that 'Perfect love casts out fear') Reminding yourself of the love of God can bring deep, real healing to traumatic parts of your past, so that you can get going on your new life with Him, full of new peace and joy.

On top of that, the Holy Spirit can kickstart new habits. He brings seemingly dry Bible facts from your head to life in your heart, where they actually blow through your being like a refreshing breeze. Like this one: 'Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom' (2 Corinthians 3:17 NIV). In the morning you can remind yourself that because He is with you, you can say, 'I actually do believe these things about myself. I am who God says I am. I can live freely!'

That's right: you're not who others say you are; you're who God says you are! Be yourself; you can't be anybody else! Do what God says you can do. Just get in agreement with Him.

So what now? We don't know how God makes all things new, but we know that He does. Write down some areas of your life where you need a new perspective and pray for God's healing and refreshing in those areas.

Soulfood : 1 Sam 20:30-23:29, Lk 4:1-13, Ps 102:18-28, Prov 17:11-14

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SEEN (2)

Jeremiah thought he was too young to talk with God. Sometimes we think our beginnings are too humble (or broken) for God. Here's the thing though: we all came from a less-than-perfect background. So what about it?

First, it's not worth giving the time of day to the 'Christian' attitude of 'I'm just ordinary.' You were created by Almighty God, for good works. That's far from ordinary! And no matter where you've come from it's still true. You're never just the product of your upbringing.

Secondly, however shambolic your family upbringing may have been, you can learn valuable lessons. You can know to avoid the mistakes of those who did it the wrong way, and follow those who did it the right way. C.S. Lewis reminds us that 'the real Son of God is at your side. He is beginning to turn you into the same kind of thing as Himself.' He can use the very people you've grown up with to get your character growing towards perfection. Hope is always the last word in Christianity. You're never trapped.

Jeremiah told God that he wasn't old enough, couldn't speak well enough and was scared of the opposition. God's response was 'Get yourself ready!' He promised to be with Jeremiah and, if you commit yourself to Him, He'll be with you too.

So what now? Whatever the next important stage of your life, or even next important stage of your week... 'Get yourself ready!' God sees you in every situation and He is with you every step of the way. Be encouraged!

Soulfood : Mt 5:7, Mt 18:21-35, Ps 103:8-18, Lam 3:22-24

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SEEN (1)

Jeremiah wrote: 'The Word of the Lord came to me, saying: "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified* you..." Then said I: "Ah, Lord God! Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth." But the Lord said to me: "Do not say, 'I am a youth,' for you shall go to all to whom I send you, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of their faces, for I am with you to deliver you," says the Lord. Then the Lord put forth His hand and touched my mouth, and... said: "Behold, I have put My words in your mouth."'

Jeremiah realised that God was looking at him - and had been even before he was born. God showed him that His gaze was full of special attention and stupendous love. He looked Jeremiah straight in the eyes, and told him 'Do not be afraid.'

When you know that you are seen by God, the faces of those who'd look down on you, in real life or in your imagination, fade. We matter, because we're seen. No matter how much other people make out you're embarrassing, it's different with God. He's not embarrassed by you at all. Because whenever He looks at a Christian, He sees Jesus and that you are sanctified* through Him.

*[which means 'holified'? 'made awesomely super-amazingly godly'? Just google it.].

So what now? There may be areas in your life where you feel unseen or unnoticed, in real life or in your imagination. Ask God to put these situations into perspective for you and be assured that you are always seen by Him.

Soulfood : 1 Sam 18:1-20:29, Lk 3:15-38, Ps 102:12-17, Prov 17:7-10

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BLOOM

In the book of Nehemiah, God chose people to rebuild the ruined city He 'lived in' at the time. How could they stay motivated to keep on working in crumbled remains? Well, they knew, even then, that God loved the city. They knew, while staring at debris-strewn ground, in a city far from completed, that the heart of God was for it. 'Look at that rubbish tip,' the critics cried. 'It's not a city wall, it's just a bunch of bricks in a pile!' If only they'd known what God was thinking. 'Oh yes! I do love that wall.'

The love God should have for a spotless individual is on you, today, because of Jesus. When we feel guilt in our Christian life from lack of progress, or some glaring character failure, we can find ourselves thinking, 'God can't love me yet. Not, like, "love me" love me.' There is frustrating sin clogging up our holiness. There are gates and walls still unbuilt in our lives. And yet. And still. The proud smile of a Creator on His finished creation is on you. You are bathed in light. There is room to grow in, an expansive space of God's acceptance. Maybe it's not only about 'pressing on' but also about rejoicing, flowering, blooming... into the whole and holy person He's said you are.

So what now? Ask God to show you where you still find it hard to trust His acceptance of you. Allow Him to show you how to bloom in those areas.

Soulfood : 1 Sam 16-17, Lk 3:1-14, Ps 102:1-11, Prov 17:4-6

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WE HARDLY NEED TO WAIT

A mother eagle knows that if she waits for her young to get out of the nest and fly on their own initiative, it'll never happen... so she pushes them out.

So what about that comfort zone of yours then? We resist moving outside our comfort zone because we don't want to fall on our faces. And when we stay inside our comfort zones, it's the easiest thing in the world to become complacent. Imagine if you hadn't made the hard decision to brave the cold and move out of the comfy-zone of your bed this morning. You'd get sucked into that warm-bed-magnet-trap. And you'd have got absolutely nothing done today at all.

Eager to get going but don't know how? June Munday shares about her 'friend [who] started a café for homeless people... when I asked him about this "calling" he said: "Well, you hardly need to wait for that. There's plenty in the Bible telling you to feed the hungry."' You don't have to wait for your own dreamy vision or calling. God's dreams for the world, as seen in the Gospel stories of Jesus, give us loads to aim for.

Oh, and the mother eagle? After encouraging the little ones to leave, she carries them safely on to their flying lesson. God's got you.

So what now? Do you know what's on God's heart? Read five chapters of one of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke or John) today, the stories of Jesus that show God's dreams for the world, and use them as fuel to move outside of your comfort zone.

Soulfood : 1 Sam 14-15, Lk 2:36-52, Ps 98, Prov 17:1-3

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MILESTONE AND MAST (3)

Haven't read yesterday? (Did you get to the half yearly review bit and think, 'Hey, waaaaay too heavy,' and decide to update your Facebook status instead? Right then, no excuses. Pop back and have a read.)

Back? Cool. This 'mast' business then, what's it all about? Masts aren't just for when things are rough, like storms; masts give a ship its strength when the sun is out and the wind is in its favour. God's presence doesn't just secure us in safety, it also means we can do good things - seriously good things - that we couldn't do without Him. 'The Spirit of the Lord will come powerfully upon you... and you will be changed into a different person' (1 Samuel 10:6 NIV). When we share God with friends, pray to see people freed from sin, and pray openly for healing, we need to know that there is going to be something that will make things happen!

We have to 'lash' our courage to the mast. If God is that 'mast', then we don't have to worry about our own lack of ability or experience. A fierce life of faith doesn't mean that we must be famous Christians or big church leaders - it means only clinging to God, and trying to live in a way that only makes sense if He is real. That way we'll be 'doing a great work.'

So what now? Have you ever prayed for someone's healing? It's not too hard, honest. You can give it a go today if you keep your eyes open (and ears to God).

Soulfood : 1 Sam 11-13, Lk 2:16-35, Ps 95, Prov 16:31-33

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MILESTONE & MAST (2)

So it's July 1st - not usually the time when we start reviewing the year. But if we wait until the normal time around end of December, there won't be an opportunity to make any useful changes. So. How's it going so far? More good than bad? A mixed bag? Some nagging stuff you'd rather not remember?

With the way our brains are, we often zoom in on our bad moments. So maybe we're looking back and remembering more of our own selfish actions than the broad action of God through us. 'Where's God been so far this year? Should I have worked harder to let Him in? Will it all just happen again, whatever I do?'

But no matter what your half-yearly review looks like, the headline stubbornly remains: God's unfailing, unflapping kindness, tied to us like a sail to a mast. 'God is not unjust' - and more than that, He is so much more than fair to us that it takes a while getting used to.

Sailors lashed themselves to their sail masts in storms. We should lash ourselves to God's character from day to day, month to month, year to year, no matter what each brings. That way, we can remember who He is when change comes. We remember how kind He is to us in our worst times, and how He draws out all the character and growth He can from even the smallest good moments we muster up. Even those brief good moments mean the world to Him.

So what now? Write down one good thing you've learned so far in 2014. Ask Him to multiply it for the rest of the year.

Soulfood : 1 Sam 8-10, Lk 2:1-15, Ps 64, Prov 16:27-30

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